Guest Post by Emma Hawes
Fair Warning: This is a blog post about being young and misunderstood, but also one that reminds my generation they’re not alone. I want people to know, “I’m not alone,” and like the R.E.M. song says, “Everybody Hurts.” Before I continue, I want to stress that while research is needed for each age group, stereotypes are unnecessary.
The stereotypes placed upon Millennials, the generation I fall into, make me want to punch a hole in the wall. One of the most reported things about Millennials is that they feel entitled, they are lazy and they expect the world.
Well no matter what generation is out there, there’s going to be a good employee and a bad employee.
Now, I think you should meet my competition.
Millennials & Gen Z
Millennials are the largest age group of people at a time, just like the Baby Boomers were during their time. It stinks that I am going to be compared to Generation Z, people born between 1995 and 2010.
It is said that Generation Z are entrepreneurs as well as hard workers, because they saw parents or siblings lose their jobs. I find this crazy, because I remember being in high school during the recession of 2008, and my classmates had parents who lost their jobs.
Isn’t it almost as if Millennials and Generation Z overlap a little bit?
Enter Gen Alpha
One thing that will be interesting to study is Generation Alpha, because it’s the generation that will be stereotyped as the “people who could unlock iPhones at 18 months of age.” Which year (of birth) counts as Generation Alpha? 2010 to 2014, depending on which site you read.
But here’s something about Generation Alpha that really stands out to me: Ad Age notes how it will be the anti-sharing generation as far as content goes.
Yes, they are already doing research on Generation Alpha.
This is much-needed, of course, as advertisers are already thinking of how to crack the code for marketing to them. We could probably also learn a few things from the Baby Boomers about the pre-social media era.
However, it’s highly possible that younger folk in Generation Alpha might have similar traits to older people in Generation Z.
One of my mentors Gerard Corbett falls into the category of the Baby Boomer. He’s had cool experiences that I won’t, like meeting Larry Hagman.
Gerry often writes about age discrimination. Ageism infuriates me, because in the future I can see myself in the workforce while in between newer and older age groups. I probably won’t have a decorated resume nor awards in my lifetime that can compare to Gerry’s, but I will probably be at work.
Doing the work I love is truly a passion, and I will fight anyone who tells me to stop. And btw, more people need to at least follow Gerry on social media. He wants to adapt and does a great job at it.
There’s a Wilco lyric that states, “C’mon children, you’re acting like children. Every generation thinks it’s the end of the world.” Honestly, this statement speaks to everyone.
What about Boomers?
The Baby Boomer generation is like mine in several ways too. It’s similar to the Neil Young song “Old Man” in a way. Just how that song spoke to Baby Boomers, it spoke to two generations above them.
More alike than different
To everyone in Generations Z and Alpha, please know that while I’ll use research on them for products and such, I will not stereotype you when it comes to being my co-workers.
Trust me, you shouldn’t be viewed as the kid in Bad Religion’s “21st Digital Boy,” not knowing how to read, but having a lot of toys.
In the next year, I’ll probably meet a Gen Z-er who’s a member of PRSSA during a Twitter chat, and who thinks that he or she has the best ideas ever. That may or may not be true, but I can promise you I won’t shoot their ideas down.
Millennials, I hope you understand that you’re not alone. We’re all going to be surrounded by good people AND bad people in all age groups. Despite the generation gap, we’re far more alike than some folk make us out to be.
Image: Alejandro Escamilla via Unsplash, CC Zero
Emma Hawes is currently working as a freelance social media content creator, while attending graduate school online at Purdue University. Hawes has a bachelor’s degree in communication, with concentrations in journalism, public relations and broadcasting from Mississippi State University. In college, Hawes was a freelance broadcasting technician, working behind the scenes for games with ESPN. When she is not behind her MacBook, iPhone or camera, she enjoys watching comedy, reading and cooking. Her fictional idol is Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation.
I love this post The GenY cottage industry drives me bonkers. There is a big difference between Generational Traits and Age traits. 15-25 year olds will always be more social…..and have less money than older people …..this is not Generational. But having big student debt or being the Generation on the hook for $16 trillion in national debt while those that created it die before then is Generational. Each Generation grows up with technology as part of their lives that older gens had to adopt. That is generational. Online bullying…is another generational thing. I can’t understand why anyone cares what anyone thinks about them….but I did when I was 15-25! So while it happening online is generational….when you get older you will be more immune to it…that is not generational.
The ageism view will change as you get older. I thought I was a real adult man at 18, 21, 25, and 30. Looking back….I wasn’t an adult until I was 30. I wasn’t looked at as a peer by older workers until then. Now that I am 48 I am feeling old in the workforce and the stigma with it because I have a whacky resume that fits me more for a CEO job than for any business segment. I am looking for work and I am over qualified for so many jobs I would be happy to take so I get no interviews.
Just focus on yourself and your own development, find older seasoned mentors and live you life and don’t care about what people think. And age is just a number. I am 48 with a 28 year old wife two little kids (5 and 2) and one due on Labor Day. 8) Feel pity for people who let age bother them…but remember they self create it.
[…] been talked a lot on the web about Millennials who do this or don’t do that. That they are lazy, they are life-work balance oriented, […]
Well done Emma. Thoughtful and cogent. And thanks for the shout out!
It is Em, the writer. I’m so glad that you loved it. However, I hate to say it but I forgot Generation X. I got all worked up on Z and Alpha, that I forgot about them. The bosses today went to high school went Nirvana was the new grunge band on the scene. Yes, you could consider Nirvana classic rock right now. Once again, there’s good guys and bad guys in this age range. (I’m doing this for my fellow Canadian friend and Gen X’r, Bill Smith). One interesting fact is Gen X’rs hold the highest level of education for the group.
Once again those who hold the stereotypes are crazy.
Amen Emma. I try to let my work speak for me. Until I show people that I can kick butt, the listening of me as “just a twenty-six year old” is powerful.